- Take care of their family, be active with all the grandchildren, and be around for life's big events.
- Live well into retirement, see the world, travel to all the places they didn't go when they were busy working.
- Stay healthy and active, spend time with friends and family, enjoy walking, gardening, and all the simple pleasures life has to offer.
- Stay out of the doctor's offices, off the medications, and be free of the chronic conditions that can slow us down, or even immobilize us, as we age.
When your fitness goals are aligned with your life's purpose, it is easy to see small successes. As balance improves, or your core gets stronger, or you can lift a few more pounds over your head, there is a sense of empowerment. A feeling that you are doing what you can to stay fit and strong.
When fitness is only about weight loss, that's when things can get twisted up. We forgo nutrition for weight loss. We skip strength, balance, and endurance for weight loss. And we often feel like failures, because weight loss is really hard. Especially over 50!
I remember when I lived under the tyranny of the critical voice in my head, always harping on me about my weight. Too fat, too this, too that. It was constant. I was absolutely certain that if I could get control and finally lose weight, the voice would be quiet. But no matter what weight I was, the voice seemed to rage on.
I was wrong.
You don't lose weight to quiet the critical voice. That doesn't work. You make peace with whatever is causing all the racket within you (she's been trying to get your attention for a very long time), and that will lead you to your healthiest life. That may or may not mean weight loss. For me, I stopped caring all that much about my weight, when I felt better. When my heart started healing. When I started getting strong from the inside, out.
The work that I had to do was deep within. It had to do with grief, shame, and never feeling good enough. No amount of weight lost was going to heal that. I needed to know the truth of my identity and worth. I am not my weight!
You know, I love big, powerful thighs. I want to hike the Grand Canyon and climb mountains. And I don't want ripped abs so much as a strong core, to keep my back healthy and happy so I can do the work I love, walk as much as I want, and spend time with my people, pain-free.
I see so many before and after pictures. I have one I call my 'before'. But really, that's not accurate. My before picture should be me, sitting on a couch, smoking a cigarette, and eating pizza, depressed. After, should be me with my arms in the air at the rim of the Grand Canyon. Or my before should be me, sitting across the desk from a kidney doctor as he told me about the dangerous chronic condition of my kidneys, while every bad choice I ever made flashed through my mind. After, should be me now, 20 years later chatting away with my doctor about how stable my kidney function is and how great it feels to choose well.
My life is not about weight loss and I don't use it to measure my success. I want to live! I want to hike that Canyon and climb and Tread and dance and play with the kids in my family. I want to work for a very long time, then retire well. I want to keep my back healthy and pain-free. I want to live this life of purpose.
If you keep looking at your body and thinking, if only I could lose this weight, everything else would align, you are off track. Inside is what matters. You deserve to heal, and not carry the effects of the wounds of your past with you any longer. You deserve to love and accept your body at any size. You need to know you are not your weight! And your before picture isn't fat then thin.
Your before picture is the woman struggling to know her worth, value and purpose. Who might be weighed down by grief, guilt or shame.
Your after picture is empowered, strong, and healthy. AT ANY SIZE! But oh, that light inside is shining. That light is burning bright. That light will always lead you to your very best life.